As amazing as it may seem, the Internet and the World Wide Web as we know them today are less than 20 years old. In fact, it is now hard to imagine a world without the Internet. But, as recently as 1994, there were only 500 fairly modest Web sites worldwide. In less than 15 years, the World Wide Web has grown to more than 3 billion pages.
And there is no end in sight.
As microprocessors and software applications become cheaper and more powerful, Internet access will be available to a wider audience from a wider range of devices, and communication will become even faster and easier.
If you aren’t already involved with making money on the Internet, the time is NOW to jump into e-commerce. The audience is enormous and growing. And the technology is in place to build a dynamic, energetic online business that can reach across the world to attract prospects and customers.
E-commerce is quick, and it is easy. And it doesn’t cost a fortune to get started.
The key to online profits is to build a Web site or network of Web sites that attract lots of targeted traffic and the increased click-thus and sales that come with visitors. And now, after less than 20 years of Internet development, clear strategies for cost-effectively building your online presence have emerged. This discipline is called online marketing. And its objective is to get as many interested people to your site as possible.
There are currently only 3 ways that a prospective client can arrive at your site:
1) He can type keywords into a search engine.
2) He can click through to your site from a link on another page or…
3) He can type in your URL.
There are proven online Web marketing techniques to help you optimize these options. But some are more efficient and cost-effective than others. Here is a brief overview of the customer acquisition methods available to you, organized in a cost pyramid: cheapest cost per new customer acquired to most expensive.
Customer Referral or Tell-a-Friend
One of the cheapest and best ways to acquire a new customer is to have one of your existing customers recommend your site to a friend or colleague. This will actually cost you nothing – except the hard work it takes to build a loyal following. That means you’ll need to offer great products, fantastic customer service, and good value for money. One easy way to facilitate referrals is to include a tell-a-friend link on your Web site. There are several low-cost software applications available to add this feature to your site.
o Omnistar Tell is available to either run on your own server for a $27 one-time fee or as a hosted solution for $7.95 a month. (see oministartell.com)
o TAFPro, a downloadable software available in the standard version for $97 or the Advanced Technology version for $197. (see tellafriendsoftware.com)
o Viral Friend Generator is available for a one-time payment of just $97 (the regular price is $197). Once you own the software, you can use it on multiple domains. (see viralfriendgenerator.com)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When someone is searching for something your site provides, he types some search words into a search engine like Google. Naturally, you want your site to come up on the first page of searches, and otherwise, the searcher will likely never arrive at your site.
For you to be in the top 10 listings, your site needs to be optimized for the search engine spiders that crawl the Internet and rank your pages for relevance to key search words. That means your site probably needs professional help to make sure your keywords are properly selected and coded, you have plenty of links to other pages (and they work), and your content matches your keywords.
But there are things you can do yourself. First, look at the keywords on the sites of your competitors. To do that, go to the Web site. On your toolbar, click on View, then Source. A screen will open that displays the Web site’s “meta” codes. You should see Name, Content, and Keywords, followed by a list of words that describe the site’s content.
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